Managing fuel cost is a good thing. And a sport. I was elated to discover that our one year old RAM had originally been ordered with the 50 gallon tank! Yeah, that saves me having to install an aux tank. Why do I need so much fuel? So that I can decide where I buy diesel. With 50 gallons, call it 45 usable, I have a 375 to 400 mile range. Our most regular run is from the house to central Florida. 1100 miles. I leave with a full tank and make three fuel stops, usually in the same places. I make sure these are the rock bottom prices.
Some people proudly save the $0.05 off the too high prices at Flying J/Pilot. Some people use Gas Guru or similar. I used to. Often it meant going a few miles out of our way. It could also get “interesting” to get the rig in and out of the small(er) gas stations we would encounter. Yes, I would look at Google Earth and scope them out but still……
Because paying the green price on the top of the 100′ mast along the highway was not my idea of fun, even though it was more convenient. Well, guess what. Turns out that price is NOT what all those trucks are paying. Mr Schneider for instance hauls 19,318 loads per day, with 11,650 company drivers, 10,120 company trucks and 33,830 trailers on the road. He calls Loves/TA-Petro etc and says: “Hey, I’ll send all my trucks to you, what are you going to do for me?” And he gets a discount. A SERIOUS discount. And there are logistics companies that pool owner operators and small trucking companies so as to have the same buying power.
Then someone had the brilliant idea to pool RV’s. Last I heard there were 15,000 of us.
It’s called the “Open Roads” program and you can find them here.
The short of it is:
- You get a fleet card. Works like a debit card and is tied to a checking account. I have a separate “street” checking account for security. The company that actually handles the money (clearing house, not unlike VISA although this is a debit card and NOT a credit card) and issues the card is EFS. Their name is on the card. TSD/Open Roads gets 5% of anything they SAVE you. There are no subscription fees of ANY kind.
- The card only works at the big pumps in the back of the truck stop. You have to be able to accept the big nozzle. But it goes fast and it will not shut off at any preset amount. If you don’t know it already, learn the etiquette back there. Truckers can sometimes be, eh, impatient.
- There are apps for finding prices/locations and keeping track of your transactions.
And here’s the big one….. I have been averaging discounts of $.30 to as much as $1.00 That’s a lot of money. So, three pre-planned stops at the best prices. As of this writing TA/Petro was giving us the best deals, for a while it was Loves. FlyingJ/Pilot never seems to want to play. Do note that not all parts of the country are equally served.